Top positive review
33 people found this helpful
A poignant, moving story of nature and survival
on 30 November 2002
I have to admit that I have not really given Jack London his proper due up to now. Perhaps it is because I don't by my nature like outdoor adventure type stories, or perhaps it is because I associate White Fang and "To Build a Fire" with my youth. The fact is that Jack London is a tremendously talented writer. His understanding of the basics of life matches his great knowledge of the snow-enshrouded world of the upper latitudes. The Call of the Wild, despite its relative brevity and the fact that it is (at least on its surface) a dog's story, contains as much truth and reality of man's own struggles as that which can be sifted from the life's work of many another respected author. The story London tells is starkly real; as such, it is not pretty, and it is not elevating. As an animal lover, I found parts of this story heartbreaking: Buck's removal from the civilized Southland in which he reigned supreme among his animal kindred to the brutal cold and even more brutal machinations of hard, weathered men who literally beat him and whipped him full of lashes is supremely sad and bothersome. Even sadder are the stories of the dogs that fill the sled's traces around him. Poor good-spirited Curly never has a chance, while Dave's story is made the more unbearable by his brave, undying spirit. Even the harsh taskmaster Spitz has to be pitied, despite his harsh nature, for the reader knows full well that this harsh nature was forced upon him by man and his thirst for gold. Buck's travails are long and hard, but the nobility of his spirit makes of him a hero--this despite the fact that his primitive animal instincts and urges continually come to dominate him, pushing away the memory and reality of his younger, softer days among civilized man. Buck not only conquers all--the weather, the harshness of the men who harness his powers in turn, the other dogs and wolves he comes into contact with--he thrives. This isn't a story to read when you are depressed. London's writing is beautiful, poignant, and powerful, but it is also somber, sometimes morose, infinitely real, and at times gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.